Notes from FBI Director Mueller's Meeting with the SAAC Executive Council

The document includes notes from FBI Director Robert Mueller's meeting with the SAAC Executive Council during the conference held at the FBI Headquarters from September 28 through 30, 2004. The notes detail the Council's concerns and appreciation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

DATE 10-06-2009 BY 65179 DMHT.77,TU
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Notes froni Director's Meeting with the
SAAC.Executive Council
.September 28, 2004
The Council met with DireCtor Mueller Chief of Staff Charles-M. Steele, Deputy Director John
Pistole, EAD Jonathan I. Solomon and Special Assistant to the Director, Drew S. Parenti. The
Council began by voicing concerns abOnf the FBI's very obvious shift in focus from criminal
investigative matters in leu of Countei-terrUism. The Councils stated that the field would like to
reiterated the importance to not dowifpfa- .y.Ciiminal investigations and continue to aggresSively
work those cases even though terroriSinds*the number one priority.
The Director stated that the 9/11 Commission report is now officially closed. The FBI will
show our independence from the CIA and.other law enforcement agencies. He stated that
he understand the fields frustration.with.terrorism's rise as far as caseload and he
understands this argument. The fact is,: the FBI cannot do anything about this. Some
criminal cases will not be focused upon as greatly because we are trying to prevent a
terrorism attack. We have to prioritize and re-focus. The Director does understand that
some terrorism cases will overlap with the criminal side and the field will continue to.use
• their investigative skills.
. The council stated their appreciation of the work done by AD Joseph-Ford in his exploration of
the Agent accelerated pay raise "suggeStion. .(grade 13 in 3 years) The Council re-stated that most
'agents. Aga-if Trainitig at. the AcaderrrylfsVe-takaretfighificaft
become part of the FBI and their startn*salaries'are not enough support for them and their
families, especially in many major citi.es4here the living costs are very high. The Council
suggested that a grade GS-13 be available for qualified Special Agents after three years of fulltime
status. The Council stated that it is understood that this is a temporary fix, but it will add an
incentive for new agents to begin their Careers in these high cost areas.
The Director stated that he has concerns about leadership responsibilities That would fall
upon the new agents as they rapidly irierease in grade. He stated that he would continue to
look at this, as we have a chance to becoine part of the "Intelligence Community". With
that, the pay band would also come and,it could help in this regard.
Regarding the proposed term limits for field office Stationary Supervisors requiring periodic
the Council asked the DirectOr if rotation every three years. will be possible, with the great •
number of agents being hired over the. next: few years. Will the divisions be able to support the
The Director stated that this question was the kind of profile needed for new policy. He
agreed that this needs to be explored, and that the Council's concern makes a very good
point. The Director went on to say that a great deal of planning will go into this to see that
the experience is spread properly and that the divisions can support it.
OIG REQ 08/22/05—ITEM #28
The Council stated that as an institution, the FBI does not have a formalized and effective
procedure for documenting the operational and administrative lessons that we learn. We can,
and often do, make the same mistakes again and again at the expense of Agent safety and
operational efficiency and effectiveness. The Council stated that the FBI needs to develop and
implement a formalized "Lessons Learneci".approach to doing business which assures that both
operational and administrative lessons that learned are identified, docurnentedand distributed
to all relevant parties for future use. As an-example, the Council used the continuing TDYs of
Special Agent teams to Iraq, stating thafno after action debriefings are conducted after the
conclusion of each TDY to Iraq. Mission statements were unapproved upon deployment.
, Lessons learned are imperative to move forward and improve and the FBI does not seem to be
learning from failures or success.
The Director stated that he is not aware of the scope of the conditions in Iraq, but agreed
that we do need to learn and improve. He stated that the FBI looked at a very extensive
operational plan before deployment which addressed everything. There were some leSsons
learned but we could have done more. The Director agreed that this is a problem and that
the Council presented very good points that are absolutely on target. He then thanked the
Council and said that he would follow-up and haye someone address this issue with them.
The Council asked if the Director had:any updated information to provide regarding the VCF
project, stating that they wanted to express the fields frustration, but sought the opportunity to
relay the news any progress that is beingimade.
•• • -` „
The Director stated that the FBI will have an initial operating system that is-up and
running in the New Orleans Division inTecember. He said that he is frustrated with the
time frame and the delays but we are on the- right track. He encouraged the Council to
have a discussion with CIO Zal Azmi to receive a more complete update and to answer
additional questions. The Director said thallie is as frustrated as everyone else, but he
believes that iu time we will have a top of the line search engine and the technology will be
head and shoulders above the rest. The Director said that he takes responsibility-for the
delays. '
The Council conformed their support of the Executive Development and Selection Program
(EDSP), however, still wished to voice concerns about the possibility of loses to the management
program due to the rotation concept.
•• • •
The Director stated that he wants toireinove the disincentives to the management program.
EDSP will give credit to those who have special skills and capabilities. He stated that the •
FBI will enhance the EDSP and there is still a lot of work to be done. He said that he
understands that some people will step down as a result of the rotation cap. He took this
into account, saying that in the end the Bureau will benefit still. Some personnel will go
from management back to the field. However, those persons were in management in the
first place because of their field performance and experience. The Director stated that he
does not see this as such a bad thing.
OIG REQ 08/22/05-ITEM #28
D0j01G013803 'FBI000,0016
The Council stated that there is still great concern regarding the high number of mandatory,
revolving Special Agent TDYs.
The Director stated that the Counterterrorism Division is looking into establishing squads
and making the TDYs a permanent,thing. He understands that the TDYs are disruptive
but most participants have said that the 'experience is valuable. The FBI has to be much
more flexible today than we have been in past years.
The Council voiced concerns regarding the Quick Hire Program and the effect on agents who are
spending their efforts doing support background investigations, only to have the candidates
disqualified. The Council believes that a large amount of valuable time is wasted. The Council
then stated that they were scheduled to speak with a representative from the Human Resources
Management Section of ASD about this issue later in the day.
The Director stated that the percentage is a low one based on reports he has received. He
then stated that he has put so much more pressure on the Administrative Division to hire
all of the new people. This- issue is a 'result of that and its partly his responsibility. The FBI
will take a closer look at this.
The Council reminded the Director of an' issue brought to his attention in previous meetings
regarding the opportunity to improvethe" efficiency of our operations by eliminating Time and
Attendance (T&A) slips in favor of an automated system.
' The Director stated that he would follow-up on eliminating the time sheet forms.
The Council thanked the Director and asked if he had any messages for the field.
The Director stated that for the next 6 months, the FBI's top priorities are #1 technology
improvements, #2 our efforts to increase our intelligence, capacity to become an agency
within the agency, #3 the need for the administrative support arm of.the Bureau to be •
changed and transformed into a service Mentality, and #4 efforts to meet our growing
operational. support needs such as equipment, supplies, funding, etc.
OIG-REQ 08/22/05-ITEM #28